Both students and faculty from Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College participated in a global climate change strike Friday afternoon to let adults and political officials know that they are tired of inaction in regards to the rapidly declining environment.
Student activists from both schools gathered in their common areas -- EKU's Fountain Plaza and Berea's campus quad -- to join in solidarity with a worldwide movement to try and make it known that something has to be done to save the planet.
Both events were organized by students at each school who were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish climate activist that prompted the global protest.
Students at EKU stood outside of Case Dining Hall with signs and empirical data about climate change to make their peers and faculty on campus aware of the issue and show the impactfulness.
"The sad reality is that there is no one else to do it," said Chris Holmes, a junior psychology and sociology dual major at EKU. "This is a problem we have inherited and added to with our inaction and we want to insure a good future for the rest of humanity by taking time out of our lives to make sure that future generations have time for theirs."
Holmes said that he, along with a few friends who are piloting a student progressive action coalition group, have been working to organize the EKU branch of the global event for several weeks.
While EKU is mostly a conservative campus unlike its Berean counterpart, he hopes that things will remain peaceful with the climate strike, but cautions others to be prepared for blowback.
"I hope they will take away from this that there are those of us that take this seriously and willing to fight, and recognize that this is a peaceful venture," he said. "We want to show that we are willing to act as adults who are here to have a conversation and really fix the problems that we have found ourselves in... ."
At Berea College, their climate strike was organized by sophomore chemistry and physics major Tessa Grant, after her friend studying abroad in Ireland asked if the college would be participating in the worldwide event a little over a week ago.
She began to organize the event by posting on the school's Facebook page, emailing people in the college and local news sources to spread the word.
Grant explained that Berea students or faculty participating in this strike are not protesting against the college but it is simply their way of showing solidarity with the other protests.
"This is not a protest against the college, because really Berea is very sustainable," she said. "Everyone is doing this around the world, and we want to do it too."
For Grant, the sole organizer of the event, the protest is something that is personal for her being a chemistry major. She aims to dedicate her life and career to helping conquer the climate crisis.
She says that it is important for those at the college to participate because as a collective group of young people, they can all learn from each other.
"It's especially important for Berea because they have always been interested in sustainability and environmental safety," she said.
Grant told The Register that she has received a lot of support and enthusiasm from people and was able to get RSVPs and track it and started to notice that it gained momentum going from just over 25 RSVPs to almost 70 participants in about a week. At protest time, around 100 people from Richmond, Berea and the college gathered to chant and discuss what needed to be done.
"I have been overwhelmed by student support and even some of the faculty, like one of my professors emailed me saying they were so happy I was doing this," she said.
She stated that one professor was even offering some extra credit to students who decided to participate in the event.
Nationally, over 1.1 million public school students have excused from classes to be able to participate, according to an online Yahoo article.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.